Thirty years ago when I bought this old Craftsman house i replaced the porch floor and steps. The elephantine columns were unsalvageable, also. Three years ago when I repainted my front porch steps I found some dry rot on the stringer next to or under the thick porch rail/wall. Absent carpentry skills I just papered over it, and put a flower pot on the spongy stair stop near the outside wall. Well, three years later the steps look like helll again. 

I admit I must spend some major bucks and get some help, but the price of lumber has me running scared.  Have you had any experience with the following alternatives:



Turning over the trees and reusing them

Taking steps apart to repair rotten stuff, and put them back using old materials.

Or do I just need dos ell a kidney, hire a fine carpenter, and build them anew.

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That does look pretty grim.  Since they are painted, you might be able to get by with replacing only the rotten boards, if any of them (say near the top) are still firm.  The key is selecting a wood that is more rot resistant than standard and making sure that the ends are painted after cuts have been made and before assembly.  Ends rot first, so get them sealed.  Brick costs more, unless you have masonry skills or a friend with them.  Especially with things that see the weather, you tend to get what you pay for on materials.  Lair, I believe has used the trex and maybe can weigh in.

I have used Trex since the early 90's.  I think it is a  great product.  I hate paying for it but it is worth every penny you pay.  I was talking to a neighbor I had back in the 90's when I added a deck to the back of my home.  
She told me they just had to replace the framing of the deck I added.  They changed the shape of the deck but she said they used the same Trex decking I had installed back in '91.  If my math is correct that is 25 years it has been in use and put down for more..  


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